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Aunt Wilma

My main babysitter, Aunt Wlima

I can count on one hand the number of babysitters I had growing up that weren't related to me: Linda, our neighbor when we lived on Nichol Street and Betty, our neighbor when we moved to Frederick Avenue; two. Then there was that one night when Bettty's teenage son Mike came over when my mom went bowling, but I didn't really need a babysitter then and we just played barbies the whole time anyway, which I was never supposed to tell anyone, so, I don't really count him.  But even if I did, that's still only three fingers, which is a pretty small number considering that I grew up with a single parent who had a lot on her plate.

Some parents have a long list of sitters or day cares, which I'm sure has it's benefits in terms of child socialization. I feel lucky to have spent most of my non mom time with family members though, namely my grandmother and great Aunt Wilma. They were of course willing to watch me free style (as in for no moolah, not as in "rapping") which I'm sure was an incredible blessing to my mom's bank account.

In recent years it has become clear what an influence these ladies had on me. The fact that I spent so much time with women in their seventies, doing crafts and baking, sheds much light on why I am the way I am and love the things I love. My mom was incredibly crafty too, but even more than that, as a teacher, she handed down important technical skills like measuring, gluing and making margins that I retain to this day. She's still trying very hard to teach/convince me that following directions does in fact have it's benefits, which I am still inclined to resist!

Lately I've become quite unhappy with my business name, Keep It Moving Design (KIM) and when I started hating to see the name in print, regardless of the good press, I decided it was time for a better one. I need a business name that at least hints at the things I make, rather than seeming like a pilates studio (which happens to be in my neighborhood, BTW).Aunt Wilma, modeling the hat and muff I got one Christmas.

As we all know, naming things can be difficult, be it children, pets or our own personal fashion style... (mine is "sexy grandma" in case you're wondering). So when my early craft inspiration Aunt Wilma, came up again and again in my quest, I began to want to pay tribute to her. Hence my new alter ego: Aunt Wilma.

Yes, Aunt Wilma was a real person. Yes, she was my Aunt and yes, she was a thrifty and crafty lady. The new Aunt Wilma however, is a bit more than that. She's a culmination of the crafting personas of all my great aunts, my grandmother, my mom and me; each with our own particular set of skills and inclinations. I choose Aunt Wilma specifically, because she's the one I spent most of my crafty time with and because I just like the sound of it. It looks good too, don't you think??

My real Aunt Wilma lived across the street from Mabel's, an overflowing craft store in our small town called South Paris.  Mabel's was owned and opperrated by you guessed it... Mabel who was about Wilma's age or old and Mabel's mother who was therefore really old. It was not much more than a few rooms, but those few rooms had everything! The only way to find anything was to ask Mabel who would then slowly move twenty dusty boxes and yank out exactly what you were looking for. Through Mabel we learned all about all the hip new crafts, like puff paint sweat shirts, spiral paint sweat shirts and faux cross-stitch sweat shirts. With each new craft Wilma tried came the inventible surplus of supplies that I then got to try. It was SO cool!

Wilma's handmade gifts were memorable, but not in the good way you might hope of someone I'm naming my business after. There were the numerable, aforementioned sweat shirts of course and then there was the 2 foot doll lamp resembling Scarlet O'Hara. For mother's day Wilma helped me mod podge a Magnum P.I. topped jewelry box for my mom, who has kept and kept and kept it to this day. In college she sent me newspaper clippings, which I admit I only occasionally read, but once a particular tasty batch of lacey cookies arrived, neatly stacked in a beautiful vintage tin. This was perhaps my favorite of all her gifts and you can tell because the tin has remained a staple of my decor ever since.

If Aunt Wilma were alive to read this, like any good and stubborn Maine lady she'd probably be muttering to herself in disgust. But I hope somewhere, she, and all the crafty ladies who raised me, feel some sense of pride at how important and influential they have been to me. I am truly blessed and grateful to you all!

Without further ado.... here's my new store!!!

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
Auntwilma.etsy.com

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